Shine brightly

There's an object lesson I like to use in counseling sessions.

I turn on two table lamps, and then I turn off the other lights in the room.
We discuss the brightness of each light bulb, and how each brings light into the room.

Then I turn off one lamp.

I ask the question, "Does turning off one lamp make the other shine any brighter?"

The answer is always, "No. It shines the same amount of light."

Then we discuss what this means as a metaphor for relationships and conversations.

I formed this object lesson from a phrase I heard years ago in college:
that blowing out someone else's candle does not make yours shine any brighter.

Oftentimes we assume that putting another person's accomplishments below ours will elevate our own position.
We mistakenly think that if they are beneath us, then we will stand taller.

But our light doesn't really change. We shine with whatever light we had beforehand. Whether that light is symbolic of intelligence, popularity, kindness, or beauty, the quantity we possess does not change.

I use this lesson in counseling to help my clients understand that putting others down will not increase their self-esteem and vice versa. If my client is being bullied, it helps them see that they are in control of how brightly their light shines. People can try to blow them out, but they can choose to keep shining.

I hope we all can remember to let our own light shine, rather than seeking to dim another's light.
May we enhance our own happiness and satisfaction in life, thereby growing our light from within, rather than fooling ourselves into a better esteem by blowing out someone else's candle.
Join me in spreading a positive influence by learning more about #commentkindly here.

Remember the phrase:

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